CATCHALL I absolutely loved Intangible, so I was thrilled when I realized I would have the chance to read Imaginabl*****FINAL RATING: 4.80 STARS*****
CATCHALL I absolutely loved Intangible, so I was thrilled when I realized I would have the chance to read Imaginable. It was absolutely as lovely as its predecessor, perhaps even more gorgeous in some ways. Everything about it was just gorgeous and there was more romance, which I loved. The plot also moved forward in ways I didn't expect and there was so very, very little I didn't love about this book.
THE HERO LUKE I really like Luke because he's not perfect. He cares very, very deeply for Sera, to the point where sometimes he gets impulsive and makes mistakes. It's really sweet to see how much he cares for his sister but it never gets creepy and in this book he's much less overbearing. He wants to protect her, but he also allows her to make her own decisions. Meanwhile, he's struggling internally with some feelings as well. He exudes confidence on the outside, but he's more sensitive than he lets on.
THE HEROINE SERA Sera is an artist, which has always been one of my favorite things about her. She's also a healer and she hates to see anyone in pain, to the point where she will do things she doesn't want to to protect them. While that is dangerous, it is also admirable. I also really feel like Sera finds an inner strength that she didn't have in the first book. She's growing into her powers even more than Luke is, and she doesn't know what the right thing to do with them is all the time.
THE LIGHT ELF PROTECTOR FEY Fey might be my favorite simply because she's so strong but also not. She's been alive for literally hundreds of years, but she's more human than she first appears. Fey has one of the deepest senses of compassion I've ever seen, and she has a hard time reconciling her head and her heart. She knows what she should do but that often conflicts with what she wants to do. Her loyalties are really tested in this book and she has some very difficult choices to make, which I think she really handles well.
THE HEAD VAMPIRE JONAS Jonas is so, so, so wonderful. I love him probably beyond logical reason, but whatever. He isn't afraid to do what he thinks he should be doing and he's protective of both twins, but particularly of Sera. He'll do anything to keep her safe and he's willing to take major risks to ensure that she is. Also, like a lot of the characters, he has some pretty deep-seated insecurities. He doesn't really let them physically show, but they're definitely hiding in his heart. He's brave, and he's loyal.
There are loads of other characters I'd love to mention, but if I mention one I would have to mention them all, and then this review would be longer than the book practically, and you'd get bored. So, go read about them. ;)
THE PLOT In Imaginable, the plot thickens. That sounds lame and cliché, but it's true, so forgive me. Not everyone is yet completely recovered from the betrayal they faced, especially Sera, and the threat of Lilith still looms in the background ominously. Yet the twins and their friends are facing bigger problems now.
Without veering into spoiler territory, Sera's ability to heal is causing problems for them all. She had only good intentions at first, but other people used her to warp and change her gift into an action that is something awful. There's a sort of bloody rebellion beginning to build, and if they don't manage to stop it everything will change for them, and not in the gumdrops and roses way.
I also like the treatment of magic, although that is also my main problem with this book. I like that the magic isn't perfect or flawless. There are definitely crutches and things it cannot do, and it is not perfect. However, sometimes the magic can do things that I find frankly ridiculous and at times it was too much for me to believe. So essentially, I do like the way magic is used, but it is also the main fault in my opinion.
It is a very fast-paced novel, and I definitely got caught up in the action. I really couldn't put it down either because something was always happening. The chapters ended in ginormous, intense cliffhangers and kept me reading on and on.
I also love that there is so much originality in the plot. I really feel like it is so unique from other books I've read. There are vampires and elves, yes, but there are also other types of creatures, including the particular introduction in this novel of a unique and monstrous one. It really belongs on its own level as far as urban fantasy goes.
THE ROMANCE I was so, so happy with the development of romance in this book as opposed to the last. Fey and Luke silently struggle with their feelings for each other, and waiting to see where they would go was immensely interesting. There are definitely some misunderstandings between them, and I kept hoping they would work them out. Jonas obviously cares deeply about Sera, but she's still not necessarily ready to open herself up to love again after what happened with a certain someone in the last book. Even so, she cannot deny her connection to him. It's all explosions and kissing and kind of fabulous.
THE WRITING I recognized J.'s talent from the very first paragraph of hers that I read, and I can honestly, legitimately say that it has only improved. It is absolutely gorgeous, peerless. The way she describes things is beyond beautiful, and she makes everything feel so unbelievably real. The dialogue and banter between the characters is also fun, and J. has an absolutely incredible sense of humor. I actually had to stop reading this book during class because I could not stop laughing. It never feels tacky, just genuine.
THE ENDING The ending was perfect. It doesn't resort to using a killer cliffhanger because it doesn't need to. The overall conflict definitely isn't resolved, but the immediate one is more or less. And yet, despite that, I still found myself on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was next. This book was wonderful but it wasn't enough. The ending was awesome, but in some ways it was almost doubly cruel.
WRAPUP Do I recommend this series? Abso-freaking-lutely. Go buy the first book if you haven't, and if you have then you need to read this book now. This is actually one of my favorite series, and I know I say that a lot, but this series is really something special. I will, of course, definitely be keeping up with the series. In fact, getting book three yesterday isn't soon enough for me.
CATCHALL Fairy Godmothers, Inc. surprised me by being one of my favorite reads of the year and ever. Books that rel*****FINAL RATING: 4.70 STARS*****
CATCHALL Fairy Godmothers, Inc. surprised me by being one of my favorite reads of the year and ever. Books that rely heavily on humor tend to be hit-or-miss for me since I apparently have a weird since of humor, but I loved it in this one. The two main characters are enormously entertaining, the plot was the fairytale-esque one you expect it to be and there were more twists than I could count. It is a brilliant concoction of laughter and love set in a gorgeous fairytale world.
THE HEROINE KATE Kate is a fairy godmother whose job is to help poor, abused girls find true love and marry princes, much like a Cinderella story. She doesn't approve of her company using "true love" potion, however, which is basically an aphrodisiac, and she never uses it herself. She won me over to her side the minute I found that out about her. She doesn't blindly follow what she's told, but she does her best to ensure that he clients are actually happy. Kate is strong-willed, a little stubborn, and has a sparkling sense of humor. She's no-nonsense, maybe a little bit dense, but cute.
THE LOVE INTEREST JON Jon is a hero who definitely had me swooning; I admit it freely. He's a gentleman from the very beginning and is willing to do almost anything to win Kate over (not that he really needs any help there). He, like Kate, has a wonderful sense of humor. He's also the one in the castle who really runs everything, even though his mother and older brother should really be doing that. Even so, he takes over. Jon is kindhearted and puts other people first, though like anyone he has his selfish moments.
THE SECONDARY CHARACTERS RELLIE I love Rellie. For some reason, it's impossible not to love herm even though she's the type of person that if you met them in real life you'd be hard-pressed to resist the urge to shut them up violently. Her ditziness works for her somehow, and she's sweet without trying to be. I also love how she has her moments, and that even if she's often silly she's genuine. And whimsical. NED Ned is sensitive and yet passionate; he's in love with Rellie from nearly the beginning but he doesn't want to act on it because he wants to let her get her happy ending with the prince. I love that he puts her happiness above his own. We also see him change surprisingly a lot from the beginning to the end of the book.
THE PLOT Fairy Godmothers, Inc. is officially an adult novel. The heroine and hero are both adults, as are the other characters. However, it reads very clean, and as far as I'm concerned it's got loads of crossover appeal. It's something I myself loved, and I have faith that YA readers will absolutely fall in love with it too. I think honestly that it is a book that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
I love the world, too. It's very definitely a fantasy world, but there's also a very modern feel to it. It's the type of fantasy world you want to crawl into and live in. It's set up so vividly that it's easy to imagine and there's so much to love about it. There are illusions to several fairytales and even a nod to Greek mythology. It's actually similar to the world of Ella Enchanted–the movie version, the book is way different–but like, infinitely better.
There were so many plot twists–a few of which I probably should've seen coming, but never did. It was more fun that way, though. This book was fluffy and fun but it was also really intense and it actually physically made my heart race. It was thrilling and I got myself really invested into the story. Whenever something unexpected happened it would make me jump a little bit.
The fairytale lore was so much fun too. It's definitely in some ways drawing from several different fairytales, but it is also in many ways its own unique plot. I've certainly never read anything like it although I really wish there was more like this. Kate is a spunky heroine, and she really made this story just come to life.
I honestly don't really have any complaints about this book. There's just nothing I really feel the need to complain about! Every once in a while, that has to happen. This was pure fluffy fun, and yet it was more than that.
THE ROMANCE Surprisingly, I wouldn't call this instalove. I'm not sure why, bur I don't want to. Though the feelings seem to come quickly, they're not immediately acted upon, which I really liked. They get to know each other before that, even if there's strong attraction and chemistry on both sides. The romance is also messy–there were so many factors keeping everyone apart that at times it seemed unfixable. But hey, true love conquers all, right?
The secondary romance did happen a bit quickly for me, too quickly for me to really believe, but it didn't bother me all that much. I kind of just let it slide, but it's still notable.
THE WRITING This book is beautifully written. It tells the story from the alternating POVs of Kate and Jon–with someone else featured a few times. I won't say what other characters we get. I thought it was confusing at first to suddenly add in the POV of a new character but when I understood why it was done I could just kind of relax and enjoy the ride. It was nice getting the chance to see things from a new perspective. And of course, this writing is so much fun. There's so much humor evident in every word, and the descriptions are gorgeous.
THE ENDING You know that feeling when you're nearing the end of a book and everything is so messed up you feel like it can't possibly be fixed in time? That's how I felt reading this book. I was so, so worried that not everything would work out. There were definitely some unexpected endings. But I got the one I wanted, so I'm happy. I was very pleased with the way everything turned out and satisfied 100% with the way the story wrapped up. Neat and pretty, but with imperfections.
WRAPUP Fairy Godmothers, Inc. is one of the cutest books I've ever read, easy. I am definitely looking forward to more from Jenniffer! I'm sure she'll come up with something even more brilliant and I cannot wait to read it. I would definitely recommend this–to adults, to teenagers, to fans of contemporary romance, to fans of fantasy an retellings. It's one of my favorite books, so it comes with my high praises. Even if you think it wouldn't normally be your thing I really think you should give it a try. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
CATCHALL Honestly, I had no idea what to expect going into this book. I picked it up because the cover was pink and*****FINAL RATING: 4.90 STARS*****
CATCHALL Honestly, I had no idea what to expect going into this book. I picked it up because the cover was pink and pretty and I'd been craving a fantasy. I barely even skimmed over the blurb. I was as surprised as anyone else when I ended up completely falling in love with it. It is legitimately one of the best fantasy books I've ever read, with easily one of my top five favorite romances. Set in a gorgeous and intriguing world full of people who'll stop at nothing to rise to the top, The Rose Throne absolutely blew me away. It was my first book by Mette, but I guarantee it will not be my last.
THE HEROINES ISSA Issa is easily my favorite of our two heroines. She's clever and yet not weak. She's ladylike, and a true princess, but at the same time her courage is strong without being obnoxious. She knows her place but she also isn't afraid to risk everything just to help someone else. Issa has spunk and bravery, and yet she isn't insipid and she doesn't make her decisions without thinking about them. She does what she believes is right but she isn't impulsive. I freely admit that I have a massive girl crush on her. AILSBET Honestly, while I adored Issa, I had mixed feelings about Ailsbet. It's much harder to get a read on her character, and it was really difficult to figure out her true personality. I don't think she's an awful person, but she's definitely selfish. I do think she sometimes tries to see what's better for other people but she has so much pride that she has a hard time seeing past it.
THE LOVE INTERESTS KELLIN I am actually head over heels for Kellin, so, you know. I completely, utterly adore him. He has that whole strong and silent things going on, but then going further he's actually really sweet even if he doesn't always show it. Oh, and don't let's forget passionate. And sexy. Really, really sexy. He has a righteous heart, but he's not an idiot and he doesn't do things without taking precautions. He rebels against the bad in his own way, and his loyalty runs deep. UMBER I don't even know why I'm mentioning Umber, since I never really liked him and he didn't feel that important to me. At first I thought he might be decent, and he really did treat Ailsbet well. But we never really get to see his true intentions clearly, so it's difficult to judge him.
THE PLOT From page one, I was instantly drawn into the world of The Rose Throne. Prophecies are always exciting, and I loved the way this one played out. I was really invested in seeing where it would go and I literally could not put this book down. I began reading it on a whim, but it soon turned out that this book had me wrapped around its…pages.
I loved how everything fit together. Issa wants to please her father, so she goes along with the idea of a loveless marriage to a much younger prince. There, she meets Ailsbet, the princess who is hiding her owns secrets. I loved getting the POV of both girls. Each one is hiding something, so it was interesting to see their struggles alone and yes, together.
I really enjoyed the fantasy elements too. In this world, women have magic of life, or neweyr, while men have magic of battle and death, taweyr. Of course, sometimes there are people born with no magic or people born with the "wrong" magic, which is a really interesting side plot that helped me in falling for Kellin. But, I really like the way the magic was employed. It's not necessarily central, but it's definitely important.
My main complaint is that when I later went back and looked over the blurb it is kind of misleading. Not so misleading that it destroys the whole book, but there are some noticeable things that just didn't match up. Still, I didn't think it was a huge deal.
So, yeah, I loved this. I really, really loved it. It is easily one of my top favorites of all time and maybe the best book I've read this year or at least way, way up there. I enjoyed this book so much I just want to cuddle with it.
THE ROMANCE Issa and Kellin are easily one of my top five favorite fictional couples ever, and that is a hard list to get on because it involves kicking someone off. But they did it. I absolutely, completely adore them together. They had chemistry from the very beginning, and for a while I worried it wouldn't go anywhere, especially as there were distractions. There's a sort of burning intensity between them that I love and though it isn't easy, love rarely is. I love the way they tease each other and yet take care of each other, and how they can't stay apart even when they try to.
THE WRITING I adore the writing in this book. I am in love with it. Both girls have distinct, clear voices, and even though their thoughts aren't always completely clear, they're still understandable. The word choice is gorgeous and uncomplicated. I love the way things are explained without being pushy, and though I wish there had been more descriptor language it was still so, so wonderful. Everything really flows and connects.
THE ENDING The ending has the hint of a resolution and what is going to happen next, but it still leaves room for more story to be told. There's definitely something of an HEA, though, at the same time, which I really liked and helped cement my deep love for this book. I'd love more, but the ending was still written in such a way that even if there isn't more, I can feel like the story came far enough along and was resolved satisfactorily.
WRAPUP The Rose Throne is currently a standalone, but Mette has two ideas for sequels drafted, which I would be hugely open to. Normally I'd appreciate that it's a standalone but in this case I'm dying for more so desperately that I really hope there's more. The ending was awesome but I still want more. I loved every bit of this. It's a seriously beautiful book and maybe the best thing I've read this year. Would I recommend this book? Duh. If you're a fantasy lover like me, don't think twice. Even if you're normally not huge on fantasy, please consider this one. It is really on its own level of amazingness.
CATCHALL Honestly, when I went in to read this one, I thought it sounded cute. However, I really didn't have very hig****FINAL RATING: 4.25 STARS****
CATCHALL Honestly, when I went in to read this one, I thought it sounded cute. However, I really didn't have very high expectations. I thought it might be kind of a fun, light read to pass the time, and because I knew the concept would be so difficult to execute I was nervous about seeing how it would be done. Happily, however, The Rules for Disappearing exceeded all of my expectations and quickly became a favorite.
THE HEROINE MEGAN Obviously her name isn't actually Megan–it's just the current name she chose for herself–but giving away her actual name would be way lame, so I'm not going to do that, even though it feels really weird to call her Megan now. So anyway. I really like her. She's strong but she's also vulnerable, and very much a teenager. She keeps to herself and doesn't really want to open up to anyone when she knows she'll just leave again. Despite this, part of her still craves human company and she wants to confide in someone. She also ruthlessly searches for the truth. She was kind of annoying sometimes, but I let it go for the most part.
THE LOVE INTEREST ETHAN Ethan is sweet; he's the strong, local farm boy who instantly can tell there's more to Megan than she's letting on. He doesn't let her avoid him and he drives her to dig harder for the truth she's been wanting to find. He's very loyal to her, and he stands up for her even against his old friends. I liked his courage, and I really admired the way he didn't let her push him away. He really works hard to gain her trust.
THE PLOT A plot like this could so easily be overdone. It involves the Witness Protection Program and a girl who seems to have gaps in her memory. Yet, it never felt that way to me. Oh, yes, it had flaws. But being overdone was certainly not one of them.
From the very beginning, I was drawn into the plot. There always seemed to be this idea tucked away, an inkling that there was something we were missing, that didn't really get explained until very far into the book. The whole mystery aspect deepened the thriller aspect and made it that much more exciting and intriguing.
I loved the way Ethan supported Megan throughout her journey. He supports her from the beginning and gets her to put her faith in him, and he doesn't abandon her when some of the darker secrets from her past begin to surface. Instead, he stays right there beside her and even really comes through for her when she realizes what she has to do.
My main complaint is that some components of this book are awfully predictable. There was one thing in particular that I guessed at the beginning of the book and that should just never happen. There was at least one other significant thing too that I figured out early on so some of the suspense was really ruined for me. It didn't reveal everything, and it didn't keep me from loving the book, but it definitely affected me.
So, overall, I don't have any complaints other than that of predictability, which bothered me a lot less in this book than it probably should have. Eh.
THE ROMANCE The love story here is honestly adorable. There is literally no other way to describe it. It is absolutely, purely adorable and I love it hardcore. It actually develops and there's a lot of mistrust, suspicion, and hurt before they really learn to love each other. It's a very realistic romance and I think that's what really drew me to it so much. I do feel Ethan maybe put up with a bit more than any normal guy would have but hey. It's totally excusable.
THE WRITING My favorite part about this writing is the way Megan's voice matures throughout the book. At first, she comes across as rather childish and only near the end does she really start to mature. Seeing that progress directly was amazing. I also love the way everything is described. I could practically smell the pizza parlor, see the acres of farm stretching on. It was all so vivid and gorgeous. I do think the dialogue could have used some work but honestly, it was still marvelous.
THE ENDING I loved the ending. When I read it, I wasn't sure if this was a standalone or a series. For a standalone, the ending was gutsy but I would've loved it. Even so, I was relieved when I found out there was a sequel in the works. The ending is most definitely a cliffhanger and ominous without being cheesy. It was honestly the best ending and I really liked the way it was messy, because that was exactly how it needed to be.
WRAPUP So, yeah, though I didn't expect to, I really loved this book. I don't mean that in a bad way. I really loved this book, and I will definitely be adding the sequel to the list of books I absolutely must have. Now, who would I recommend this to? Honestly, there's really no one I wouldn't recommend this to. It's fast-paced and brill and the romance is cute and something I think most people will enjoy. So go on, give it a shot.
CATCHALL The Cage wasn’t a terrible book, but obviously, I didn’t exactly enjoy it either. There were some great things a**FINAL RATING: 2.25 STARS**
CATCHALL The Cage wasn’t a terrible book, but obviously, I didn’t exactly enjoy it either. There were some great things about the book—the writing was exquisite…but then some things were questionable. Overall, while it wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read, I really can’t say as many great things about it as I wish I could.
THE HEROINE CORA Cora was…let’s see. Incredibly frustrating. She wants to fight back, but there’s nothing tangible for her to fight against, not really. I admire her for her resolve, but she’s too impulsive and doesn’t really think things through. I didn’t like her very much, and I wish she had been more willing to see things from other perspectives other than her own.
THE LOVE INTERESTS LUCKY I genuinely like Lucky, and the way he struggles with himself is heartbreaking. He really wants to do the right thing, but he’s made some mistakes in the past. And that’s okay. He has to fight with himself to move past them and forgive himself. He’s sweet, and he really cares about Cora, even if I think he doesn’t always see her as she is. CASSIAN I didn’t like Cassian from the beginning, and I like him even less knowing what I know now about him. He’s creepy, and feels like a character from nightmares. We never get to see the story through his eyes, like we do the others, and yet it isn’t difficult to feel like we know him well by the end of the novel.
THE SECONDARY CHARACTERS NOK Nok is an enigma. She does what she feels she has to do to survive, and what she does isn’t always something most people would agree with. I certainly don’t. Even so, I have to admire Nok’s resiliency. She bounces back quickly form a crying mess to a girl who can hold her own. ROLF Rolf is someone who would never had become a leader in the real world, but up in the prison, he somehow takes up the mantle. He’s troubled, and struggles a lot with who he is, but he learns to accept himself. LEON Leon is an interesting character. Cora thinks he goes insane, but I don’t think he ever truly does. It’s hard to say. But the little of the story we see through his eyes is lucid and descriptive, and very crystal clear. MALI Mali is a bit of an unexpected character. She isn’t who I thought she would be. She seems like an obedient, loyal Kindred minion, but she’s more than that. That doesn’t mean she’s not obedient or loyal, but she has her fair share of character development.
THE PLOT The plot wasn’t all that hot, in my opinion. It’s meant, I think, to twist and turn more than it does, but ended up being laughably predictable. I don’t mean that in a horrible way; I just mean that sometimes things that I think were supposed to be big reveals just aren’t that shocking, and so the story loses some of its value in this way.
Cora’s plan also seemed really ill-conceived. What there was of the plan, that is. But maybe I’m just too complacent. I wouldn’t have fought in the way she does at all. It’s risky, and yet she’s willing to fight for her freedom. There is something to admire in that, but she acts so rashly and one might say foolishly.
Still, the concept of this book is incredible, and it gets credit for that. It’s unique and enthralling, and really helped draw me in even at the parts of the book where I was tempted to throw it across the room. Even if parts of it were confusing, like why all the aliens speak English (even to each other, which seems weird).
In the end, though, the plot of this book just wasn’t all it could have been to me. It just feels off somehow. Maybe because Cora’s attempts at escape feel so foolish, I’m not sure. In any case, it’s almost difficult to take this book seriously.
THE ROMANCE The romance completely creeped me out. Cassian has basically stalked Cora for part of her life, which is just creepy. I don’t care if that’s given him feelings for her, it seems wrong. Cora, for her part, clearly is attracted to him, but that attraction doesn’t seem to run very deep. Then there’s the whole thing with Lucky. I like Lucky, and I feel sorry for him because of the way Cora treats him, but I don’t thinks they’re right for each other, either.
THE WRITING The writing is the one thing in this novel that did not disappoint at all. The world-building is on-point, to the point where I can practically visualize the rolling hills and endless ocean of the prison, to the clean-cut and sterile world of the Kindred. The descriptive language is flawless. Each character also has a very unique voice. It helps keep the book grounded.
THE ENDING I really like the way the book ended, actually. While not entirely unexpected, it gives the reader a new perspective. Cora and those with her face a difficult truth, and Cora makes an oath she’s certainly determined to fight to keep. I think the book ended on an excellent note compared to the rest of the story and I might even call myself impressed.
WRAPUP I’ll probably be continuing this series out of some kind of morbid curiosity, but with some hesitation. I have hope that this series will improve, now that Cora has learned so many things and what she has done. I really hope the next book improves because this series has a lot of potential and could definitely be a lot more than this book gave us.
CATCHALL Vampires, you guys! I was nervous to read that book because vampires are an often-overused paranormal, but i****FINAL RATING: 4.10 STARS****
CATCHALL Vampires, you guys! I was nervous to read that book because vampires are an often-overused paranormal, but it sounded so good that I had to read it anyway. And I am so, so happy that I did! Dissension really blew me away with it's uniqueness and it was as intense and suspenseful as I could have hoped for. It was not a disappointment at all and I was definitely kept up late reading it.
THE HEROINES LEISHA I loved Leisha from the very beginning. She doesn't take any nonsense from anyone. She knows who she is and what she's capable of and if anyone stands in her way they had better be prepared. However, we quickly learn that her outward appearance is built up to mask her inner vulnerability. She's a vampire, yes, but she never wanted to be. I loved reign the conflict in her head of the choices she made, and how regret and the need for survival became intertwined. SAMANTHA Samantha, at first glance, is a relatively ordinary girl. Except that she isn't. She has visions sometimes, but she's learned to keep that a secret. However, that doesn't keep her from acting on them, which is how she ends up getting mixed up with Leisha and the vampires. She's determined and brave, and while she's young she doesn't let people walk all over her.
There are love interests...but right now I'm not going to go into detail about them. I will say they are fantastically layered characters and neither of them is who they seem to be at first, but talking about them without spoiling something seems a daunting task.
THE PLOT Dissension not only brings an entirely new game to the table where vampires are concerned, but takes the much-overused idea of a prophecy and makes it into something new and creative that I fell head over heels for. There's intrigue, drama, romance–and nothing is ever as it first seems.
There were tons of plot twists, and lots of things that changed as time went on. There was also great character dynamic. The relationship between Leisha and Samantha was a favorite. Even though they met by crazy circumstance, they formed a strong sisterly bond of love and seeing that in action was moving. The other character relationships were just as detailed.
Furthermore, I loved the pacing. It moved quickly enough that I couldn't put it down but not so quickly that I got lost. And everything that happened fit into the story somehow. There were no mundane scenes that stuck out to me as being irrelevant, and sometimes things look bleak only to come together by pure coincidence.
This book also involves flashback, which you guys probably know I can be iffy about, but the way it was done left no room for dissatisfaction. Leisha's memories are clear, and the way her past fits into her present is smooth.
As I mentioned above, Dissension is a unique and original vampire story. Te vampires in this book do draw from traditional vampires in some ways, but the ways they don't set them apart and that's what's made me really like them. They break from the status quo.
Dissension was overall a fun, suspenseful book with a fabulous plot and spectacular character dynamic.
THE ROMANCE Dissension doesn't have a ton of romance, which actually really worked for me in this book. There is a little, but it's not the main focus at all, and it's more of a precursor than anything. You can see a few different pairings set up, but nothing really happens. I enjoyed seeing the chemistry and in some cases history between the characters but at the same time it was really nice to have this as a side plot. Of course, I'm definitely looking forward to more romance in the next book.
THE WRITING For a debut novel, Dissension has layered, detailed writing and a complex world. It isn't fully fleshed out as much as I would have liked but it is a first book so there's likely to be more. The writing borders on simplistic at times and becomes more vivid in others, creating slight inconsistencies, but overall I still found it enjoyable and easy to immerse myself in.
THE ENDING I was very, very happy with the note that Dissension ended on. Without feeling overly dramatic or random, it still left me wanting so much more. There's not much closure but there's definitely going to be more to come and enough was resolved in the end that I don't feel like it's being dragged out. I think this was very well thought out and I'm impressed.
WRAPUP I definitely loved this book, and getting the next book is high on my list of priorities. I'm definitely a fan now and will let Adrienne lead me wherever she feels like it. I'd absolutely recommend this, too! Vampire and paranormal fans, you've met your match. This is considered an adult book but it has a lot of crossover appeal.
CATCHALL I absolutely loved loved loved this book. It was gorgeous and enticing, and everything I could have asked*****FINAL RATING: 4.75 STARS*****
CATCHALL I absolutely loved loved loved this book. It was gorgeous and enticing, and everything I could have asked for after being blown away by Illuminate. It kept me up reading late into the night, and it was even more haunting and creepy than the last book. It turns out demons can get still more evil, and that there's even more intrigue in this book than in the last. I adored it entirely.
THE HEROINE HAVEN Haven grows so much stronger in this book. Before the shy introvert, Haven has really begun to take a stand. She's still who she was before but she has even more courage now and she isn't afraid to make her own decisions. She does I think depend in other people a bit too much but I can understand that. I love how caring she is of everyone around her, and she's definitely a very relatable character to me. She's every teen girl in some ways, and that's the best thing about her.
THE LOVE INTERESTS LUCIAN I am very vocal about my deep love for Lucian. I absolutely adored him more than anything. For one thing, his passion is sexy. He's sexy. He also made some bad choices before but seeing how deeply he cares for Haven is heartrending. I love how much he's changed in some ways but in others not at all. Lucian is also so good to Haven, no matter what she does, and he's protective of her too. But above all, he wants her to be happy, even if it's not with him, though of course he'd prefer that. How can you not love that? LANCE Okay, though I have been Team Lucian from the beginning, I did love Lance in book one. Unfortunately, I stopped liking him in this book. Not only does he turn into a tool, but he starts getting involved in really dangerous things and making stupid choices. He acts completely out of line and becomes a total jerk to Haven. I lost all respect for him in this book, which makes me sad.
THE BEST FRIEND DANTE I didn't think too much of him before but I've always like him. Dante is a lot of fun as a character, and he's one of the best friends Haven could ask for. He's sweet and loyal, and always supports Haven no matter what. He also struck me as a lot less stereotypical in this book and really became a character I could root for.
THE PLOT In Infatuate, the plot thickens. I am aware if how cliché that sounds but it is absolutely true. What happened before was just the beginning. Now, everything is about to get more serious. This time Haven and her friends will have help, but it's much-needed. Even with the help they're still going to struggle.
I loved the plot of this book infinitely more than the last. It's far more interesting, and there are more nuances to deal with. We also get a much deeper insight into this particular world of angels, and we learn a lot more about what it means to be an angel for Haven. It's complicated stuff, and the best part is that they don't have ridiculous powers or anything. They do avoid some things, but I think that's only fair.
I was also kept guessing throughout the book. It's really, really difficult to figure out who is on what side up until the end. Just when you think you've figured it out, a character will do something totally unexpected. Nothing seemed overly coincidental to me.
It's just as original as the last book! I loved that as Haven gets stronger in some ways she loses power in others. I love, love, love that she doesn't just become this ridiculously amazing and empowered person who can do anything. She has to make sacrifices and give things up to get better, just like anyone else.
The pacing was also perfect. I wouldn't call it fast-paced, but it's definitely not slow. It moves along faster as time progresses, and though it starts off a little unremarkable it quickly grows into something alluring.
Overall, this book is an absolute masterpiece. I was thoroughly impressed by the complexity and originality of the plot and I loved all the new developments. There are no mentionable plot holes and everything that happens connects to something else. It flows gorgeously, and there's really nothing bad to say.
THE ROMANCE Ah, romance. My main struggle with this book. I love how much Lucian loves Haven, and how he'd do anything for her, including watching her be happy with someone else. They still have chemistry, and the scenes with the two of them were all my favorites. However, I don't like Lance anymore, so watching him and Haven be together was not a fun experience for me. He acts like a total jerk to her and she just kind of accepts it. Not. Okay.
THE WRITING Aimee is an extremely talented writer, and she's only improved. Haven's voice had become surer and more distinct, and the word choice is better as well. It's more descriptive than before, and the new setting is so lushly described. I also really love the way the characters interact, and how fun their banter is and how every relationship is different.
THE ENDING The ending shocked me. Where Illuminate ended on a fairly closed note, this book ended with a major cliffhanger that I didn't expect. While I didn't find what happened devastating, it still left me on the edge of my seat and willing to beg for more. I still am, because I absolutely have to know what happens next. It really left me with a feeling of surprise, and I also liked that a certain someone got out of something. Can't say more than that without spoiling.
WRAPUP I loved this book so much, and it's easily going to be one of my favorites of the year. It's an awesome series. You can bet I'm dying for the third and final book! I even hope that maybe just maybe she'll write more than that. I really, really love these books. I highly recommend Infatuate if you loved Illuminate, or even just liked it, since it's so much better! And if you haven't given this series a try I highly recommend it. Highly.
I tried, you guys. I really did. But I can't do it. Before I even got a quarter of the way into the book I was dreading reading it. Beth is an annoyinI tried, you guys. I really did. But I can't do it. Before I even got a quarter of the way into the book I was dreading reading it. Beth is an annoying, selfish brat who acts like she's entitled to everything, and Ryan isn't much better. I don't care about this series anymore and after two exceedingly rare DNFs I am done with this author. ...more
CATCHALL I really, really loved this book. Like, I really, really did. I've been somewhat lucky in my reading latel*****FINAL RATING: 4.75 STARS*****
CATCHALL I really, really loved this book. Like, I really, really did. I've been somewhat lucky in my reading lately, which is awesome, and this book cemented that streak for me. The characters were memorable and it used a fairly unique concept. It was unputdownable and held my attention amazingly well, which, while not exactly an accomplishment unique to this book, is still fantastic considering I have a book I started back in July still sitting half-read on my bookshelf. Some books suck at the attention-grabbing thing. Some books, like this one, rock at it.
THE HERO MICHAEL When we're first introduced to Michael, I wasn't entirely sure what to think of him. He's something of a risk taker, and while he clearly loves his family he still does what he wants. As the story went on, however, I grew to love him more. He doesn't mind risking his life for the people he cares about, and that's incredibly admirable. At the same time he isn't an idiot and he isn't overly impulsive. Michael keeps a clear head most of the time, but he also gets panicked at times, just like anyone else. He's also a photographer, like me, which is awesome.
THE CHOSENS CALLISTA Callista is an interesting character, and I'm not a huge fan of hers. I get that she's hurt inside and that she's grieving and I sympathize with her. Believe me, I do. At the same time, that is not a free ticket to be rude to everyone. Sometimes she just goes off and starts blaming Michael for things he had no control over. Again, I get wanting to place blame somewhere, but placing it wrongly isn't helpful. Still, she isn't wholly unlikable, and she's a very strong character, which I do like. THAD Thad might be my favorite character. I adore him. He's fiercely loyal, which is one of my favorite traits. He isn't bitter about the past or what's happened to him. He doesn't let it get to him. He doesn't have a problem devoting himself to Michael, and he's self-sacrificing but somehow isn't annoying about it. Which is amazing, right? Of course it is, because I just said it was.
THE PLOT In the world of Harken, Guardians protect the earth. Or at least, that's what they're supposed to do. Something like that isn't a unique idea on its own. The way it is executed is what makes it truly memorable.
Michael's life isn't normal from the beginning. He can see people's emotions in their eyes, particularly when the eyes are those in a photograph. He's made a business out of this that causes him to leave his house one night. That's what leads him to meet Mr. Sharpe, and consequently sets off the events of this novel.
This plot involves a lot of action. It is definitely event-driven, which I really liked. One thing leads to another–no matter what choices Michael makes, it is going to cause something else down along the line. I was pleased by the clarity of that and the ease by which events and people connected.
Mostly, it was highly enjoyable. There was a lot of anticipation involved. I constantly wanted to know what was going to happen next. And the best thing? It wasn't irritatingly predictable. I loved being surprised. Just when I was sure I had everything figured out, something would come up and it would be turned upside-down completely. I was left guessing until the very end.
So, if I had to sum this up in one word, I'd use the word thrilling. It was deliciously intense and basically just marvelous, and I loved every moment of it.
THE ROMANCE As much as romance happens to be one of my favorite things in the universe (which most of you know by now) one of my favorite things about this book was its lightness on it. I wouldn't go so far as to say there's none, but it isn't the main focus of the novel like about 99% of YA paranormal these days and I loved that. There's chemistry, but there're still so many roadblocks to any chances of that. It's complicated is probably the easiest if most cliché way to phrase this. I like it, and I'm definitely curious to see where it goes.
THE WRITING I have mixed feelings here. The writing flows easily, and Michael has a distinct voice. It lets a lot of his personality come through, but occasionally it does fall flat. It's a little bit too simplistic, I think, and could use a bit of work as far as that goes. It's not horrible, not even bad, but it's not perfect. Mostly I would say that it needs more specificity to the word choice and more focus on the wording in some areas. But other than that, I really don't have any complaints. It's lovely, and has a very open and readable quality to it.
THE ENDING Endings are tricky. Plus, I have a tendency to be overly critical about them. Happily, I was extremely satisfied with this ending. It left me wanting to know more, but at the same time it didn't feel like a cheap trick or a ridiculous cliffhanger. Don't get me wrong–there is a cliffhanger–but I thought is was nicely done. There was one point near the end where I think the book could have ended, and most authors probably would have ended it there to drag it out. But I liked that Harken didn't do that. It gave the sense of a complete book with more to come.
WRAPUP If it isn't obvious to you by this point how much I loved this book, then…well. It should be obvious. It was an incredible story with action and just a touch of romance, and I adored the concept of Guardians. I will definitely be continuing this series. As to would I recommend this? Um, yes! I especially recommend this to all you lovely people whose guilty pleasures include bad action movies. I'm only half kidding. But in all seriousness, I absolutely recommend this. Harken was a gorgeous and modern read.
CATCHALL Release was, without a doubt, one of my most favorite recent reads. I adored it. There's such wonderful an*****FINAL RATING: 4.80 STARS*****
CATCHALL Release was, without a doubt, one of my most favorite recent reads. I adored it. There's such wonderful and thrilling development in this installment, and the action is enough to give any adrenaline junkie a high. Seriously. It has a little bit of everything. Some romance, major battles, and and some serious hurdles to overcome. Essentially, I want to crawl into this book and live there. Hypothetically, because although it is awesome to read about magic and monsters a life-running, it may not actually be as fun to experience. I advise precaution. Anyway, moving forward, before I go and travel off on a tangent again.
THE HERO CHASE I adore Chase, and I love his character growth. In Exiled and Shift, he was more than a little arrogant. In Release, he hasn't lost all of that attitude but he's gotten a lot better. I definitely appreciated that and didn't get nearly as frustrated with him as I had before! He still doesn't always make the right decisions, but neither does anybody, so, you know. I love that he's passionate, too, and doesn't do things halfway. He's also much more vulnerable than he lets on, and when he makes mistakes he truly does regret his actions eventually.
THE LOVE INTEREST RAYNA Rayne doesn't let anyone walk all over her. She's powerful for certain, and though she's still learning to handle her newfound abilities she is determined to use them to help. She doesn't want to stand around while everyone else does all the work, and it's not about glory. Rayna sometimes tries to act like she doesn't care, but it's pretty clear that she does. Really, it's impossible not to love her. She's fabulous, to put in concisely, and is just such a unique character.
THE SECONDARIES I was feeling too lazy to make individual headers yet again…ah, well. Maybe next time. Actually, I promise next time. MARCUS Marcus is one of my favorite characters. He's the best possible father figure to Chase, and clearly, he really cares for him. He shows that more than once in more than one way. He really puts himself put there for him and doesn't seem to be afraid to risk anything. How can you not admire that? Sometimes adult characters in YA are just nonexistent or horrible, and that's not realistic in the slightest and I hate that. Here, we see a strong, good leader with some serious shoes. RILEY Riley is still out villain, still twisted by hate and dark powers. On some level, though, he fascinates me. He lusts after power. Wants to rule the world. Doesn't realize that it's something that can rule him. I certainly see that he wants power. Power corrupts, and it's addictive. Even so, there's something alluring in him. Stop looking at me like that. WILLY Willy is another one of my most-loved characters. He's a shifting demon and it's clear that he and Chase share a deep bond. Though originally shy, he's become much bolder as he's found his place in the world. He still struggles but he's definitely improving. He is such a dynamic character, and I think a lot of people will find something to relate to in him. There's one more thing I really wish I could say about him, but it is major spoiler, so I'll not. TIKI Tiki is such an odd and yet unique character. There's never been anyone quite like him in any book I've read. He is very central to this book. He's intensely loyal. Not just to Chase, but to anyone he feels deserves his help and protection. He doesn't try to hide what he thinks. He simply says things as they are, and I find that very refreshing. And when Chase gets worked up about something or other he is very often the voice of reason. VINCENT Vincent is the vampire who wasn't prominent in the second book, but definitely had a role to play here. And did I like his role? Yes! He definitely wasn't what I expected him to be, and though I already had an opinion of him from before it was really hard for me to stick to that opinion as I began to learn so much more about him. We get a lot of Vincent's tragic backstory, and it's hard to keep disliking someone like that when you see what they've had to suffer through.
THE PLOT Let me start this off with a story.
So, about a year ago, I was reading with my then-boyfriend, who picks up one of the worst books I've ever read. (I won't name names but coughIncarnatecough.) So anyway, he basically asks me why I keep reading if about one-quarter of the stuff I read is trash. I told him that not quite that much of it is trash, but essentially his point still held. I then told him that the thing is, a lot of books try to fit into this mold of what's proper and what people are going to like. But the best books are the ones that break out of that and become something entirely new. And that finding those gems are worth it. Basically, what I meant was that so many books try to be the next big thing by being like the last best thing, only different. (Brill choice of words, Annabelle. God, now I'm talking to myself in my reviews.) See, but the best books, Release among them, don't do that. They're not afraid to become something all their own.
Release was, to put the entire book into one word, incredible. That's why I loved it. It fascinated me and made me second-guess myself and just when I thought I had everything figured out, it'd throw something at me that seemed completely out of the blue but when I looked closer, the answer had been there all along. Sounds cliché, but it's true!
I love the pacing. It's not molasses slow, but it doesn't move so quickly that I'm just kind of sitting there frazzled and wondering what the hell is going on. It kept me fully engrossed and wishing I could read faster, because there was always, always some sort of unknown. Some lynchpin factor that made everything that much more dangerous, and every victory that much more satisfying.
I already made the whole point of how important originality is, and it really, really is evident here. Are there similarities to other books? Obviously. I'd be worried if there weren't. That would just be weird. It's a unique series and not quite like anything else I've ever read. There's magic in the form of elemental power, but there's also more than that. There're different Realms, which is so cool and blows my mind so much I don't even have words for it. Then there's…well, okay, I don't want to spoil things.
So, um, yeah. I don't gush this much about books that I wouldn't recommend to absolutely anyone, so I think it's pretty clear how much I loved this. The plot is gorgeous. Original. Sparkling. Who needs anything else?
THE ROMANCE Romance makes me happy. Anyone who is familiar with my reviews knows that. I am very into romance. Love the stuff. So I adore when a couple is perfectly matched, the way Chase and Rayna are. They argue, for sure, and definitely get at each other's throats. But that's because they care. They have some of the best chemistry I've ever read, quite honestly, but things aren't easy for them. And the things keeping them apart don't seem false or contrived; they seem real. I love that they want to do what's best, but you can't fight love, right? :)
THE WRITING There's really not much to say here, other than that this writing is gorgeous. Absolutely, glitteringly gorgeous. And since the first book, it's only gotten better. Chase really does develop a more unique voice with every page that passes, and his inner thoughts aren't annoying but insightful. I love the banter between the characters, and the way their language changes when they need to have a more serious conversation. Also, everything is described so sharply. The fantastical creatures, the other Realms…I can picture them clearly, thanks to Matt's vivid writing. It's almost like it's been captured in a photo and framed for memory. That clearly.
THE ENDING So, the first thing that happened when I read the ending involved me going back several pages in the book so I could read them again. Because I literally could not believe what happened. Or rather, I would not. I didn't want to! I mean, it was upsetting, really upsetting. And, uh, I definitely cried. Like, a lot. I most definitely did not see that coming. That's why I had to double check. But no, it really, actually happened. My poor heart cannot take this madness. I get why it had to happen. I really do. Totally doesn't mean I have to like it.
WRAPUP I would recommend this series to anyone. Everyone. Seriously. I practically guarantee that you will love it! I adore fantasy, and this is one spectacular one. Fantastic characters, real and actual development, and an original storyline to boot. If you guys don't know this already, I adore Matt and his books and will totally continue this series. Probably I will read all of his books forever and ever. So, really, you have my strongest recommendation. Go on! Pick up this series! I dare you.
CATCHALL So, I found The Innocents to be very genuinely enjoyable. It's a suspenseful thriller full of mystery and intr***FINAL RATING: 3.45 STARS***
CATCHALL So, I found The Innocents to be very genuinely enjoyable. It's a suspenseful thriller full of mystery and intrigue, love and romance. It actually reads a lot like a historical fiction book, although it's set in the modern day. It was incredibly unputdownable and definitely a page-turner. I certainly wasn't bored reading it. There were definitely some things I didn't like about it, but overall it was a good, solid book with a good story to tell.
THE HEROINES ALICE Of the two sisters, I definitely liked Alice more. She's usually cool-headed, reserved, but lately, not so much. She wants answers, and she doesn't want to just sit around. She knows it's up to her to find them. She sometimes got annoying, but mostly, she used her head. Mostly. She could be rash and impulsive, but she really didn't try to hurt anyone, and she just wanted to know the truth, which I can absolutely respect. She's not a bad girl, but she also doesn't follow all the rules. She's just a little bit of a rebel. CHARLIE Honestly, I mostly didn't like Charlie. There are moments when she's okay, but for like at least 75% of the book she's a self-centered brat who makes stupid decisions and gets herself caught up in dumb things. She also constantly chooses her fake friends over her sister, which is just not cool at all. It's like she's trying too hard to be rebellious, but inside, she's just a scared little girl, and I didn't like that at all. No, Charlie held no appeal for me. She was far too hard to like.
THE LOVE INTERESTS TOMMY Sadly, Tommy felt very flat as well. I like him and all, but there really isn't much to him. We get a lot of his back story, but we don't get what I feel are the important parts. I think he dwells on the past more than he lets on, and he also I think doesn't make the best decisions. It's clear enough that he cares about Alice, but he's hesitant to let other people know about that, and that is his first mistake. JUDE I also didn't like Jude. He's definitely the bad boy type, but not the hot kind as far as I'm concerned. He's a complete jerk to both Alice and Charlie. Alice, thankfully, has taste and doesn't like him, but Charlie, the not-so-smart one, is naturally drawn to him. I just don't understand his appeal. He's rude and self-absorbed, but of course it seems like he might have a vulnerable side, too. He also appears to be a very cliché character.
THE PLOT The Innocents is suspenseful, more so than you'd think. There's a lot of mystery. What happened in the past? Where do the lies begin and end? There are so many questions. Some are still unanswered at the end of this novel, but it's the first book in a series, so I suppose that's to be expected. Still, I wanted to know more.
A lot of the story is based on the past, and there was so much more of it than I realized. It doesn't just go back a few years. No, this story has been woven since before Alice was born, and she's only jut starting to realize that. Charlie wants no part of this digging up the past, but she might not have a choice. After all, the answers that Alice finds affect her, too. And even though I don't like her, I know that Charlie is a good person at heart and loves her sister. Some of this knowledge just might be enough to break her.
The romance is also a huge part of the story. It's part of the now, but no matter what the characters might want, it is irrevocably intertwined with the past and there it nothing that can change that.
I like the way we slowly get our answers, and that Alice has to work for them. It's not as easy as turning a page or anything like that. But this need consumes her, and she realizes that she needs to know about the past. She'll risk anything for that.
At the same time, some things in this novel seemed just a bit too coincidental. Like, they just worked out a tad too perfectly, or things just randomly happened by random chance when it seemed too calculated. Not quit spontaneous enough. It was just kind of stiff, I think.
But it scores major points for originality. It's a dark gothic mystery, and that's just old-fashioned fun. There's so much of wanting to know what's next, the search for puzzle pieces and then trying to make them fit together. It was really, really fun. I'm not gonna lie. I loved working everything out along with Alice, and I know why she's become so enthralled with it.
THE ROMANCE Tommy and Alice have a romance that starts out slowly. Softly. They just kind of sit and talk, and I love that. They're both drawn to one another, and though Alice sometimes doubts the reasons, they have excellent chemistry. It's not lout, but it's powerful. I love the way it progresses, too, and the way that it's rocky but they both fight for each other. It's not easy, but it's all they have. I don't care too much for Charlie and Jude's romance, probably because I don't care much for either of them. It feels very stereotyped as well—the bad girl and the bad boy giving up their ways for each other—and it just wasn't very compelling at all.
THE WRITING Lili has lovely writing. It's easily the shining glory of this book. Alice and Charlie's voices aren't always divided evenly, which I didn't like. Sometimes they kind of blurred one into another, which was frustrating and weird. But other than that, it's awesome. The third person managed to make me feel connected to the characters, and the descriptions are super vivid and realistic. Her writing made the book come alive. All of her characters, whether likable or not have distinct personalities and voices.
THE ENDING Actually, this book ended in a really good plea. I'm not complaining. Also, talk about unpredictable. There was so much that I did not see coming. Looking back, of course there'd been hints at it, but it simply wasn't something you think about. All the drama suddenly comes together and clicks with this new information, and many of the events that take place during the novel make that much more sense. There's something of a cliffhanger, though I wouldn't call it that exactly, but I know for sure it left me wanting more.
WRAPUP Overall, I really did like The Innocents. I had a problem with half of the main characters, but I managed it. I was certainly disappointed, but I was still entertained. I will definitely be reading This Side of Jealousy. I'm curious too see where the story goes, and even the worst characters always have a shot at redemption. If you're into historical fiction or suspense, you'll probably adore this, and though I'm not saying to go out and buy it this second, I do give it a good recommendation.
CATCHALL I really, like really really, liked this book. It was definitely something different than my usual reads. It's***FINAL RATING: 2.90 STARS***
CATCHALL I really, like really really, liked this book. It was definitely something different than my usual reads. It's dystopian, but there's a fantastical element that I really liked. Though elemental magic is a fairly common aspect of today's YA literature, I really like Antony's take on it and that for me made this book so much better. It was an absolutely joy to read and I will definitely be returning to it. It was full of action with a touch of romance, and while it was far from perfect that didn't keep me from really loving it.
THE HERO THOMAS Thomas is our awesome hero. When we first meet him, he's somewhat of an outcast in his society. He is the only person who doesn't have control of an element, and that makes him feel useless. We'll later find out that that is actually not the reason that he is set apart, but that goes into spoiler territory. Thomas was definitely a unique hero. He's not afraid to take control of the situation and I really loved the deep love and loyalty he had to his family. It's pretty obvious that he would do anything for them.
THE LOVE INTERESTS ROSE Rose I would have to argue is underdeveloped. I just didn't know enough about her to have strong feelings for her either way. She's very sweet and caring, but that's about it. Still, she's strong, too, and I think that the others definitely underestimate her sometimes. She's willing to go through a lot to keep the people she cares about safe, and she definitely isn't a coward. Though her bravery isn't always obvious, it does exist. I would have loved to see more development of her character, because she has potential. ALICE I actually have no clue if Alice is actually really a genuine love interest or not, but since I am too lazy to try and think of a name for another header she is going here anyway. Alice is probably the closest besides Thomas to being an outcast. Her element of fire is weak, but her inner fire is extremely strong and she isn't afraid to tell the others off. And as we'll later find out, she has many secrets of her own. She's a dynamic character, and I liked her role in the story.
THE PLOT Ah, the plot. It was action-driven, that's for sure. Every event in the story was a seeming chain with very little deviation, such as romance. For the most part one event clearly followed another. While this linear progression was easy to follow, it at times made the story feel a bit superficial.
I thought the dystopian world was built very nicely. There was basically a Plague that wiped everyone on the "mainland" out, leaving the survivors to live on islands, such as Thomas's colony. Yet, their colony has kept secrets from them for all their lives. We find out that there are so many things that their parents haven't told them, thinking it was in their best interests. But in the end, it's much better to truly know.
I even thought the whole pirate thing was interesting. Pirates isn't a common thing to see in YA, probably because they're overused and clichéd. But the ones in this book weren't. Their leader is far from ordinary, and they're after something very specific. Not wealth. Not power. Something else.
And, well, the elemental magic. Elemental magic has become an extremely common thing. You can find it in many YA books now, each with maybe a little difference each time. I enjoyed the way the magic was handled in the book. More than that, there's more than just elemental magic floating around—there are other types of magic too.
I mean, despite its imperfections, this truly was a joy to read. The characters were a fun bunch, and the plot was incredibly high-stakes. Very, very high-stakes. And I thought the way it was handled by the teenagers was excellent considering their situation.
It's a matter of life and death, and the fear is that someone will have to die before it is all over. And the truth is, some will. The question is, who?
THE ROMANCE This book only had a light touch of romance, but it was the perfect amount for this particular book. I think it's pretty obvious that Thomas loves Rose, as he goes to pains to prove it. Also, it's obvious in the way he talks about her, and the way he'd do anything for her. Though Rose can seem aloof, it eventually turns out that she has a pretty good reason and that she really cares about him too, and has some sort of feelings for him. It's again obvious that she would do anything for him. Though I'm not sure if Alice and Thomas's connection is actually a romantic one or not, they do have some sort of connection, and I think that there are feelings between them, although I'm far from sure.
THE WRITING This probably wasn't the most sophisticated writing I've ever read, but it was fun. Its conciseness really, I think, captured the spirit of the action, which was fantastic. I was the type of writing suited for an action-packed novel. However, it didn't do the best job of capturing Thomas's voice, in my opinion. Sometimes he sounded the way I thought he should, and then sometimes he sounded like he was eighty. This flip-flopping was confusing and odd, but eventually I got used to it. Though, hopefully, this is something that will improve.
THE ENDING This book definitely ended with a cliffhanger. Many of the questions in the book have been finally answered, but still there are many that haven't been. We don't know everything yet, and a revelation made on the very last page shocked me especially. I never could have seen it coming. There is, however, a massive jump in logic that I didn't agree with. It majorly intrigued me, although it also frustrated me. I get what Antony was coming to do by leaving this book with such a major cliffhanger but I don't think I agree with it.
WRAPUP I'll be looking forward to seeing what happens next for sure! This book has some real potential and I honestly believe that we'll see improvement. Overall it satisfied me. So, would I recommend it? Absolutely! Maybe not so much to the older crowd, though I'm sure there will be people there who love it. Even so, I'd have to say that this book is probably better suited to those readers who are younger who I think will gobble something epic like this right up.
CATCHALL I loved Black City, so I was extremely eager to dive into Phoenix. I was nervous, though, too, because of so****FINAL RATING: 4.25 STARS****
CATCHALL I loved Black City, so I was extremely eager to dive into Phoenix. I was nervous, though, too, because of some things in the blurb. Despite my hesitation, however, once I picked it up I simply couldn't put it down. It was fresh and fast-paced, and a wholly satisfying sequel to the first book. Everything about it was gorgeous to the point where I really can't have many complaints, and the cast of characters was as sparkling as I expected.
THE HERO ASH Ash is just as sexy as I remember him in this book, and yet he somehow also becomes more layered. He is torn between wanting to do what is right between doing what he really wants to do at times, and it's a very realistic struggle to watch him go through. He can be really dense about some things, but he's also smart. There's a lot of love in his heart, and he's such a caring person even though he doesn't always know how to show it.
THE HEROINE NATALIE I have mixed feelings about Natalie, to be honest. Part of me really likes her, but the other part of me wants to smack her for being such an idiot. I get where her feelings are coming from, but she goes about acting on them in what I think is absolutely the wrong way. She has good intentions, but one plan in particular that she enacts is really stupid and just ticked me off. A lot.
THE PLOT Plot-wise, I may have preferred Black City a tiny bit more, but Phoenix still had an awesome plot. Also, the development was better, even if only marginally. This isn't a bad things, however, because Black City also boasted wonderful development. There wasn't necessarily marked improvement, but it didn't deteriorate either.
I like how the rebellion is more of a central focus in this one. It wasn't fully developed in book one, because it was more about uncovering evidence and that sort of thing. This book has more meat to it. It moves forward a to more, and there's way more going on. I also would argue that it becomes much more intense.
There's more at stake in this book, so everything has bigger strings attached to it. There's no simple answer because no matter what Natalie and Ash choose to do, someone loses. They cannot have everything even though they might like to, and they're forced to realize that they won't always be able to save everyone.
Overall, I think Phoenix had a more gripping plot than Black City did. We see more than enough of a particular villain, and there are new ones who show up. There's a death that I definitely did not expect, and though it made me gasp for breath, I do think it really contributed to the plot. It made things move forward, and provided more motive as well.
THE ROMANCE I love this romance, to be honest. It's hot and it's passionate, but it can also be very sweet and protective. There are numerous misunderstandings that drove me insane, but they did keep me riveted. Ash and Natalie's love story is a very unique one, and it only develops further here. There are other people in the picture, but the romance her can only ever be about the two of them for me. The development was fantastic, and there were some truly heartbreaking scenes.
THE WRITING Elizabeth is wonderfully talented, and there's real growth clear in the voices of her characters. They're still not quite distinct enough from each other for my tastes, but I'm definitely starting to understand more the differences between them. I like her descriptive sequences but she still struggles a bit in the characters' thoughts. There are times when Natalie and Ash are monologuing to themselves and I'm just kind of like "Yeah, no one thinks to themselves like that."
THE ENDING The ending absolutely murdered me. I realize this probably sounds like a very harsh choice of words, but I am actually completely serious. I died. It should be illegal to end a book this way. I literally flipped the pages back and forth over and over again as if that would make more text appear. It was a cruel, albeit clever, way to end the book. You have no choice but to want more.
WRAPUP Phoenix was a fabulous sequel with a killer plot, and I'm definitely dying to see book three. Elizabeth Richards might be a little bit evil, but I am still definitely a fan for life. I cannot wait to see how this all ends and what comes next. If you liked book one, you and Phoenix will get along just fine. If you haven't tried Black City but you don't mind another fun dystopian, give it a shot.